Time to face facts - it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there online and without a plethora of good reviews to back you up, it’s easy for a small business to get lost in the mix!
We don’t mean rave reviews from your family and friends. We also don’t mean those few disgruntled customers who never seem to be happy. We are talking about small businesses with thousands of genuine customer reviews.
How are they doing that? Well, certainly not by sitting around and waiting for them! Human nature 101 - we are only inclined to take time to write reviews when met with either terrible or exceptional service, right?
So how can a small business encourage every middle-ground customer to provide an online review? A small effort can go a long way.
Every time you make a transaction - online, in-store, with vendors, with other business owners - you should be imploring them to write you a review.
Consider incorporating a line “We value our customers and strive to constantly provide better service.
Write us a review online and receive 10% off your next purchase!” on all invoices and receipts.
Yes, we know you aren’t supposed to buy a review, but … a little incentive can go a long way!
Timing is an important factor here. Directly after purchase is a great time to ask. If no response (or a yes without action) wait until the product/service has been received/completed, then ask again.
Rule of thumb - three times, then move on. Don’t be annoying about it! Conversely, don’t wait too long afterwards - the experience needs to be fresh in order to garner an honest review.
Speaking of honesty, it is also a crucial factor in online reviews on your part. Be sure to disclose any existing relationships or partnerships. Just remember to be transparent - you are asking for honesty, offer it up in return.
If you paid for a review or offered a trade or service/product in return, be sure to disclose this as well. While not frowned upon (hello, power of bloggers!), be sure to follow the transparency rule if you want the reviews to be accepted.
With online reviews, it’s almost more about quantity than quality. 1000 reviews (mixed bag of good and bad) is better than 50 reviews (mostly good with a few bad).
The consumer is looking for a consistency or reliability, and that is reflected with quantity.
Be aware - we are not suggesting 1000 negative reviews will do your company good! However, if you manage to positively resolve every single one of those reviews and change the attitude of the customers, you have done something right (and powerful!).